Bible Reading: Proverbs 11:1-6
Good people are guided by their honesty; treacherous people are destroyed by their dishonesty. Proverbs 11:3
AN OLD ARAB fable tells the story of a man who went out fishing early one morning and caught the most beautiful, colorful fish he had ever seen. It weighed six pounds.
He hurried immediately toward home and burst into the house to show his wife. “Isn’t it beautiful?” he said. “I’ve never caught a finer fish! I’m going to cook us all a wonderful meal tonight.”
The man left the fish in the corner of the kitchen and went to work. But as the day wore on, his wife began to get hungry. She tried to ignore her hunger (and the large fish in the corner), but she only got hungrier. Just the thought of how delicious that fish would taste made her mouth water. Finally, she couldn’t stand it anymore.
She snatched the fish and tossed it into the frying pan, rocking back and forth on her heels and toes as it cooked. When it was cooked, she sat down and ate it until every last bite was gone.
When the man came home, the fish was gone. “Oh!” his wife said, pointing accusingly at the cat. “That wicked cat got into the kitchen this afternoon and ate the whole fish!”
The man seized the cat, and the woman thought he was going to kill it. Instead, the man plopped it down on the kitchen scale. The cat weighed five pounds.
“A cat who ate my fish,” the man said, frowning at his lying wife, “would not weigh less than the fish!”
The woman had lied, and her husband knew it.
Dishonesty seems to be an easy way out of some situations, but it’s usually a trap. One dishonest act usually leads to another. One lie needs a second lie to cover it up. And the truth has a way of coming out in the end. Usually, the whole mess just leads to diseovery—and embarrassment. And shame. And guilt. More often than not, “treacherous people are destroyed by their dishonesty” (Proverbs 11:3).
That’s what happened to the wife in the old Arab tale. And it’s what could happen to us—unless we “are guided by … honesty” (Proverbs 11:3).
REFLECT: Have you ever been trapped by your own dishonesty? If so, in what ways? Have you ever had to tell a lie to cover up an earlier lie? If so, was it worth it? Which is right: honesty or dishonesty? Which is wiser: honesty or dishonesty? Which protects you and provides for you: honesty or dishonesty?
PRAY: “Father, I know that dishonesty is a trap. Please deliver me from its dangers and help me to be guided by honesty in everything I do.”